Detectives in London arrested the banned Islamic extremist who embarrassed the Government when he was allowed to enter the country unchallenged.
Scotland Yard officers and Border Agency officials acting under the direct orders of Home Secretary Theresa May seized Raed Salah late last night after he returned to the capital from making a speech in Birmingham.
Today the cleric, who walked through immigration controls at Heathrow on Saturday days after being excluded from the UK, was being questioned at a police station.
It is understood Mr Salah’s lawyers were exploring legal avenues to fight the travel ban sanctioned by Mrs May after he was accused of “virulent anti-Semitism”.
Despite his official exclusion, the preacher was allowed in and gave two speeches to British Muslims – including one on the Arab Spring at Conway Hall in Holborn.
In another embarrassing blunder, the Standard has learned that police looking for Mr Salah at the event on Monday night failed to arrest him despite the cleric giving a speech from the platform.
Mrs May is angry with UK Border Agency staff as they failed to serve Mr Salah with exclusion papers before he left for Britain.
Guards are also supposed to check all passengers against security watchlists but they failed to spot him or turn him away. Boris Johnson today criticised the UK Border Agency and told the Standard it was “extraordinary” that Mr Salah had been allowed into the country.
The radical cleric came to Britain to give a speech on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the invitation of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a group of Left-wing Labour MPs and union leaders including Jeremy Corbyn, John Austin and Bob Crow.
Mr Corbyn told the Standard: “I can’t see how the police missed him at Conway Hall, he was speaking from the platform. It all sounds rather Inspector Clouseau.”
The MP for Islington North also rejected criticism of his decision to invite Mr Salah to Britain, adding: “He is recognised as an important figure in Israel and if there is to be any kind of peace process he will have to be part of the dialogue.
“We checked him out and he denied completely that he was an anti-Semite so we thought it was appropriate to bring him over.”
In 2008 Mr Salah was charged with incitement to violence and racism by a Jerusalem court over a speech in which he invoked what is known as the “blood libel” – a notorious anti-Semitic slur.
He was said to have accused Jewish people of using children’s blood to bake bread. Afterwards, the 1,000-strong crowd rioted. Mr Salah was released from prison in 2005 after serving two years for raising millions for Palestinian terror group Hamas.
In a statement today, Ms May said: “We do not normally comment on individual cases but in this case I think it is important to do so.
“I can confirm he was excluded and that he managed to enter the UK. He has now been detained and the UK Border Agency is now making arrangements to remove him. A full investigation is taking place into how he was able to enter.”